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Aug 16, 2023 11 min read

This week’s tablehopper: pizza my heart. (free)

This week’s tablehopper: pizza my heart. (free)
Table of Contents

what’s cookin’

exterior of tommaso's restaurant in north beach
The home of San Francisco’s oldest pizza oven. Photo: ©

Happy Ferragosto! In Italy, August 15th is a much-adored national holiday that’s all about taking a trip to the countryside for a picnic, or to the beach, or to the forest for a lunchtime grill feast. The warmer and sunny weather is making me feel like playing hooky! But instead, I made my favorite picnic pasta salad of late and ate it at my desk, wah wah (LOL). Get the recipe in the #hopperathome section (below).

I have been really looking forward to this Saturday’s Pizza, Bagel & Beer Festival in North Beach from Tony Gemignani. (Definitely gonna be a flowy caftan day.) I can only imagine all the planning that is going into this event. The festival (which is also a benefit) is sold out, so I hope you got a ticket when I first wrote about it! If you didn’t, you can hit up the Undiscovered SF Filipino night market downtown this Saturday from 12pm–6pm, with food, music, and more.

Last week, my dear friend and I took the latest walking tour from SF Neon and geeked out on the neon signs of North Beach for a couple hours. It was such a blast, I love all the passion and deep knowledge that founders Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna have and share (and our fellow tour-goers were just as excited to chime in with their stories of old SF).

SF Neon has more North Beach walking tours coming up on October 5th and 25th, don’t miss taking one. I recommend starting your evening with an early dinner at Tommaso’s just before the tour (get the...

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Plan on a nightcap at Tony Nik’s after the tour. One of the businesses we talked about on the tour was the old Vanessi’s on Broadway, which inspired today’s entry in the archivist!

I know everyone’s hearts have been broken over the devastating fires in Lāhainā and Maui last week—it’s a horrific thing to process, with so much terrible loss. The community needs all the help they can get, both immediately and long-term as they try to recover and rebuild. Have you had a chance to contribute to the Maui Strong Fund with the Hawaii Community Foundation? FYI: “The Maui Strong Fund is providing financial resources that can be deployed quickly, with a focus on rapid response and recovery for the devastating wildfires on Maui.” President Obama also just posted this page of local organizations that are providing direct support on the ground. Thank you for anything you can do or offer. 🌺 I will continue to post about fundraisers and more in my Instagram stories as well.

One last note: I’m so damn excited to be getting ready to leave for my annual summer trip to Tahoe next week. My date of return is TBD, possibly not until after Labor Day, and I’m not sure about my newsletter schedule, either. 🤷‍♀️ You’ll probably hear from me once over the next few weeks, and definitely if you’re a supporting subscriber (I have some special content I’ve been saving for you)! But your hopper is tired of being on this computer every day for months and I need a break—I have four books to read on the beach instead! (Can’t. Wait.) And my baby gurl Fortuna is also ready for a change of scene—chipmunk TV awaits!

I’m wishing all of you a wonderful final half of August…and Burn (have fun on the playa)! Catch you on the other side.

Baci! 💋

the chatterbox

The sunny, Italian coastal style of Corzetti's dining room
The sunny, Italian coastal style of Corzetti. Photo: Michelle Min.

Corzetti Brings the Taste and Look of the Italian Riviera to Downtown

Are you having coastal Italian vacation fantasies this summer? Yeah, me too. You can now get your Genovese desires met (well, culinary ones) at the new Corzetti, now open in the Hotel G in Union Square from Adriano Paganini’s Back of the House hospitality group (A Mano, The Tailor’s Son, Beretta, and more).

Executive chef Tali Missirlian (formerly chef de cuisine at The Tailor’s Son) is bringing the Ligurian coastal menu to life, with classic Genovese dishes like ciuppin (the inspiration for our local cioppino), pansotti con salsa di noci (a stuffed pasta of foraged greens and herbs in a creamy walnut sauce), the namesake corzetti stamped pasta (with Taleggio crema), fazzoletti al pesto (handkerchief pasta in a traditional Genovese pesto), and focaccia di Recco (a thin and crispy flatbread filled with cheese)—we haven’t enjoyed those last two dishes locally since Farina closed back in 2017. (I still miss their award-winning pesto, did you ever see my video for CHOW about it?) There are additional seafood dishes, like stuffed mussels, shrimp risotto, ravioli di pesce, and a whole branzino, as well as four pizzas, and some meaty pasta dishes and mains. Check out the menu here.

Open Sun–Thu 5pm–10pm, Fri–Sat until 11pm. In coming weeks, Corzetti will offer lunch and happy hour. 386 Geary St. at Mason.

How Solo and Walk-In Diners Can Score a Seat at Penny Roma

The Pasta Bar (and daily selection of pasta to go) at flour + water pasta shop
The Pasta Bar (and daily selection of pasta to go). Photo: ©

Friday evening, I was one of the first diners to experience the new Pasta Bar in the Flour + Water Pasta Shop (previously Salumeria), and here’s the fun part: you can order off the entire Penny Roma menu (including the Dinner Party Menu)! Anyone who has dined at Penny Roma knows two things: it can be tough to get a reservation, and there wasn’t a spot for solo diners unless you were good with sitting at a table by yourself (the atrium room is like date HQ, while the main room is full of groups).

updated Flour + Water Pasta Shop space
The updated Flour + Water Pasta Shop space. Photo: ©

But now, the redesigned Flour + Water Pasta Shop has eight counter seats at the Pasta Bar overlooking the minimalist-chic pasta production area (I loved the deep walnut counter, there’s so much space), and there’s a walnut communal table that seats ten. Designer Gavin Knowles (Knowles Architect) helped reimagine the space (with Cookline), which still has retail shelves full of pantry items (now made of walnut, just less deep) and wine in the fridge, and a new pasta display case that sells around 10 kinds of pasta that are on the menus at Flour + Water and Penny Roma. So, if you just want to swing by for pasta to cook at home (hello, asparagus triangoli) and some sauce (ciao, Parmigiano crema), and a bottle of wine, the retail portion of the business is still chugging, with hoagie sandwiches and salads to go during the day. Many neighbors got used to the shop’s pasta offering during the pandemic, and will notice the sauce selection has slightly expanded.

pasta being made at the pasta bar
Get excited for a night of Pasta TV. Photo: ©

If you’re dining in at the Pasta Bar, while you’re enjoying your raviolini alla nonna (with spinach and ricotta), you can watch the next day’s batch of agnolotti dal plin getting made in front of you. (It really makes you appreciate all the steps that go into these labor-intensive pastas.) We also asked the pasta maker about some of the tools on the wall, from the corzetti stamp to the little board to roll gnocchi.

potato gnocchi alla Genovese
Potato gnocchi alla Genovese. Photo: ©

Pasta Shop daytime hours: 11:30am–3:30pm, daily. Pasta Shop/Penny Roma Hours: 5:30pm–10pm, nightly. 3000 20th St. at Florida.

Quick Opening Updates

Frank Grizzly birria tacos
Grizzly birria tacos I enjoyed at home during the pandemic. Photo: ©

After popping up and feeding the masses at Anchor Public Taps every week for the past couple years, the quesabirria taco maestros at Frank Grizzly’s have opened a small dine-in space in their Bayview kitchen. Come through for the couple’s fun Cali-Mex dishes Thu–Fri 10am–2pm and 5pm–8pm, Sat 12pm–5pm, and Sun 11am–3pm. 5698 3rd St. at Bancroft.

I was happy to see some ABC license activity in my neighborhood at 1775 Fulton Street, previously Jannah. Carlos Altamirano of the Altamirano Restaurant Group (Mochica, Piqueos, Sanguchon, La Costanera in Half Moon Bay, and more) is due to be opening a project, but there’s no word on what it will be yet. One can assume it will be Peruvian, but we’ll just have to wait and see. 1775 Fulton St. at Masonic.

Back in May, I reported that the short-lived Kuba had closed in the Cha Cha Cha space in the Mission, and now Mission Local reports Cha Cha Cha is coming back from owner Irfan Yalcin (since 2016)—it looks like the Kuba folks backed out of the deal. Look for the ropa vieja, lechon asado, and classic Cajun shrimp (along with the classic sangria) to be returning soon after they finish some interior updates and refreshing. 2327 Mission St. at 19th St.

Closures Include Duc Loi in the Mission and Mescolanza (After 35 Years on Geary)

Duc Loi bánh mì
I loved getting a Duc Loi bánh mì on New Year’s Eve so I could enjoy it on New Year’s Day (when I knew I’d likely have a hangover). Photo: ©

Capp Street Crap was first to notice a change-of-ownership sign in the window of Duc Loi, a much-adored Asian grocery store and badass bánh mì sandwich counter that has been in the Mission for 27 years. Mission Local reported that owners Howard Ngo and his wife Amanda (known for generously serving an annual Thanksgiving dinner to the neighborhood) will be closing the location (they actually own the Mission building).

The couple is once again setting their sights on reopening the Bayview Duc Loi store (at 5900 3rd St.) that they tried to get off the ground back in 2016, and closed in 2019. Opening in the Mission location will be International Produce Market from Ismael Ahmed of nearby Evergreen Market. Ahmed is reportedly going to continue to stock Asian products, plus adding some additional items, and the sandwich counter will stay open, “with some modifications.” 2200 Mission St. at 18th St.

by Savannah Leone Bundy

The Richmond District is saying “arrivederci” to neighborhood classic, Mescolanza, after a 35-year run [via SFGate]. The cozy Italian eatery (closing its doors officially on Saturday August 19th, due to rising operating costs) gained popularity in the early 90s for its unpretentious vibe, reasonable price point, and well-made dishes (think gnocchi Bolognese, veal carpaccio, linguine alle vongole, and a thoughtfully curated pizza selection). Owner Ruben Macedo started as the pizza cook in 1987, and purchased the restaurant with his wife, Maria, in 1998.

There are still a few days left to show support and enjoy a last meal—the restaurant is taking reservations by phone Tue–Sat for 5pm–9pm seatings. 3750 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave. Tel.: 415-668-2221.

the sponsor

Alice Waters in Conversation on August 24th

Alice Waters in Conversation on August 24th

KQED Live presents an evening with Alice Waters in Conversation with Davia Nelson (The Kitchen Sisters) at the Herbst Theatre in SF. Join one of the most acclaimed and influential chefs of her generation as she delves into her pioneering vision of farm-to-table dining, practices for sustainable cooking, advocacy for local ingredients, and the cultural impact of her iconic restaurant, Chez Panisse.

Join us on Thursday August 24th at 7pm. Herbst Theatre: 401 Van Ness Ave. Tickets and info.

the lush

last night the lights were on at The Stud (May 28, 2020).
The last night the lights were on at The Stud (May 28, 2020). Photo: ©

The Stud’s Potential Future Location in SoMa

I’ve been hearing multiple rumors that The Stud Collective found a SoMa location to reopen the greatly missed, quintessentially SF, truly iconic queer bar (it closed its doors at 9th and Harrison in the early months of the pandemic—I took a huge trip down memory lane in my piece about the heartbreaking closure in May 2020). And like a bedazzled phoenix rising from a pile of N95 masks, an ABC liquor license application reveals The Stud’s next (possible) funky nest: 1123 Folsom Street, which has most recently hosted The Golden Girls pop-up, the site of the bar Trademark. But for me, it will always be the past home of Julie’s Supper Club (and where my bestie Ryan and I threw our infamous +REHAB+ disco brunch every month in 2004).

My Stud Collective contact Marke Bieschke had this to say: “We are working hard to keep The Stud alive, but we don’t have anything to announce just yet!” and The SF Business Times didn’t get any confirmed details either, so stand by for updates on a hoped-for comeback. This would potentially be The Stud’s third location—it first opened in 1966 at 1535 Folsom, later becoming Holy Cow; you can read some past details about the Collective and more in this SFist piece. Here for any and all of it, whatever it is. 1123 Folsom St. at Langton.

the socialite

italy by ingredient cookbook cover by viola buitoni

Celebrate and Support ‘Italy by Ingredient’ by Viola Buitoni

Our local Italian culinary goddess and cooking instructor Viola Buitoni has her debut cookbook coming out on September 5th! Italy by Ingredient: Artisanal Foods, Modern Recipes (Rizzoli Books) will be chock-full of her deeeeeep ingredient and cooking wisdom, with chapters and recipes centered around single ingredients, like conserved tomatoes, capers and olives, rice, and anchovies. You will learn the history of these ingredients, as well as how to source and cook with them from this Roman-born/Umbrian-raised culinary expert.

You can pre-order the book now, attend her upcoming book signing and appearance at Omnivore Books on September 14th, and most fun of all, Viola will be at 18 Reasons on Sunday September 17th for Conversations with Viola: Italy by Ingredient, which includes a four-course meal featuring recipes from the book, a cooking demo, and a copy of the book (there are two seatings). Get excited for Viola to level up your Italian cooking game and knowledge with her lovingly and expertly written book, one that we have been needing for years. Brava, Viola!

Gumbo Social’s All-You-Can-Eat Seafood Boil Is Happening Over Labor Day Weekend

Get your ticket for chef-owner Dontaye Ball of Gumbo Social’s 40th Birthday Bash: on Sunday September 3rd, he’s hosting his third annual, all-you-can-eat seafood boil at the Outer Sunset Farmer's Market & Mercantile. The seafood boil will feature shrimp, baby potatoes, corn, smoked sausage, and more, served with butter, Old Bay, and Cajun spices. Tickets: $44.99 per person for an all-you-can-eat experience and live music; VIP table option available; 11am-3pm. 1994 37th Ave. at Ortega.


Green Bean Pasta with Feta and Dill
Photo: ©

the archivist

by Savannah Leone Bundy

tablehopper is remembering Vanessi’s this week.

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